Pilkington playing for Luton Town in 2011
|Full name||George Edward Pilkington|
|Date of birth||7 November 1981|
|Place of birth||Rugeley, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|2002–2003||→ Exeter City (loan)||7||(0)|
|2013||→ Forest Green Rovers (loan)||8||(0)|
|2014||→ Macclesfield Town (loan)||16||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
George Edward Pilkington (born 7 November 1981) is an English former professional footballer. During his playing career he was a defender, and made 647 league and cup appearances across a 16-year professional career in the English Football League and National League.
Pilkington started his career at Everton 1998, staying at the club for five years without ever making a first team appearance. In 2002, he had a short loan spell at Exeter City. In 2003, he signed with Port Vale, a club where he spent another five years; this time as a key member of the first team. He was announced as the club's Player of the Year in the 2005–06 season. After making over 250 appearances for the club, he moved to Luton Town. After a slow start due to injuries, Pilkington managed to become an ever-present in the Luton defence, and helped the club to win the 2009 Football League Trophy. He was also voted Player of the Season in the 2009–10 season. He switched to Mansfield Town in June 2012, and won the Conference Premier title with the club in 2012–13. He joined Forest Green Rovers on loan in August 2013, and was loaned out to Macclesfield Town in February 2014. He went on to join Macclesfield permanently in the summer, and was voted Player of the Year in his first three seasons at the club. He also played in the club's defeat at the 2017 FA Trophy Final. He helped the club to win promotion back to the Football League as champions of the National League in 2017–18, before announcing his retirement in June 2018.
Born in Rugeley, Staffordshire, Pilkington started his career at Stone Dominoes. He later became a trainee at Everton's Finch Farm, but did not make a first-team appearance for the club. He was sent on loan to Exeter City in November 2002 and played in twelve games, including in the FA Cup against Premier League side Charlton Athletic, which Exeter lost 3–1. He was released by Everton at the end of the 2002–03 season.
Pilkington signed for Brian Horton's Port Vale in June 2003. He became one of the first names on the first eleven during his first season, making 49 appearances in the 2003–04 campaign. At the end of the season, he and fellow rising star Billy Paynter signed long-term contracts at Vale Park.
On 17 September 2004 he saw his first red card at Brentford, during a 2–0 defeat. However, he was generally productive again in 2004–05, as new manager Martin Foyle selected Pilkington for 48 appearances over all competitions.
The 2005–06 saw Pilkington make 53 appearances, as he became an ever-presence in the league. On 29 April 2006 he scored twice in ten minutes to end his thirty-month goal drought in a 3–1 victory over Chesterfield. He signed a new two-year contract the following month, after which he was named club captain, following the departure of Tony Dinning. Vale fans voted him Port Vale F.C. Player of the Year.
The 2006–07 season was a 'topsy-turvy' campaign, as Pilkington captained his side to a mid-table finish, with a decent League Cup run to boast about – besting Championship sides Preston North End, Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City – before taking Premier League Tottenham Hotspur to extra time. Once again he was an ever-present player, with 53 appearances to his name.
The 2007–08 was a disaster for the club and the player, as new manager Lee Sinnott stripped Pilkington of the captain's armband, and led the club to relegation into League Two. Despite this, Pilkington said he was keen to stay at the club, though it was soon decided that he would leave in the summer. He had made over 250 appearances for the club.
Pilkington joined Luton Town on a free transfer in August 2008. A series of recurring injuries picked up throughout the season limited his playing chances, though he returned for the final run-in of games on 17 March 2009. Pilkington played in the Luton side that beat Scunthorpe United 3–2 in the League Trophy final at Wembley Stadium. However, he suffered relegation for his second successive season as Luton lost their Football League status.
The next season, in which Luton contested their football in the Conference Premier, saw Pilkington play in every league game. He also scored his first goals for the club, accumulating six in total, and won four end-of-season awards, including Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year. At the end of the season, Pilkington signed a two-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Luton until 2012, and was named as club captain for the 2010–11 season. He played 56 games in the campaign, helping his team to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy and to the Conference play-off final; he scored a penalty in the final's shoot-out, held at the City of Manchester Stadium, but AFC Wimbledon won 4–3 to deny Luton a place in the Football League. Pilkington was given the Players' Player of the Year award, and was also named as man-of-the-match more than other Luton player that season.
He missed the start of the 2011–12 season due to injury, but returned to the first team in October and played 33 league games to help the club to secure the fifth place play-off position. He converted a penalty at the Racecourse Ground to give Luton a 3–2 aggregate victory over Wrexham. He played in the Wembley final itself, but was powerless to stop York City finishing as 2–1 winners.
In June 2012, Pilkington signed for Mansfield Town, who finished above Luton in the Conference Premier the previous season, but also lost in the play-offs. Manager Paul Cox described the signing as "a major coup for the club". Mansfield won promotion into the Football League as Conference champions in 2012–13, though Pilkington was the club's "forgotten man" with only four appearances to his name.
In August 2013, Pilkington joined Conference Premier side Forest Green Rovers in a two-month loan deal. He made his debut at The New Lawn on 10 August in an 8–0 win over Hyde. He made a further seven appearances before being recalled following an injury crisis at Mansfield.
On 8 February 2014, Pilkington joined Macclesfield Town on a one-month loan. Fourteen days later he marked his debut for the "Silkmen" with a goal in a 3–2 defeat to Woking at Kingfield Stadium. On 10 March 2014, Pilkington extended his loan spell at Moss Rose for the remainder of the 2013–14 season. He was released by Mansfield at the end of the season, and signed with Macclesfield permanently in July 2014 after manager John Askey described him as a "proper pro".
He missed just two league games of the 2014–15 season as Macclesfield finished one point outside the play-off places, and he was voted the club's Player of the Year. He made 45 appearances across the 2015–16 campaign, as Macclesfield posted a tenth-place finish, and he signed a new one-year contract in May 2016. He also retained his Player of the Year trophy. He made 54 appearances across the 2016–17 campaign, including in the 2017 FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium, where Macclesfield were beaten 3–2 by York City. He was named as the club's Player of the Year for a third consecutive season. He made 35 appearances across the 2017–18 campaign as Macclesfield won promotion to the Football League as champions of the National League. He announced his retirement in June 2018.
Pilkington retired from playing in June 2018 to take up the position as first-team coach at League One side Shrewsbury Town, having been recruited by former Macclesfield manager John Askey. He left the club five months later following Askey's dismissal.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Exeter City (loan)||2002–03||Third Division||7||0||4||0||—||1[a]||0||12||0|
|Port Vale||2003–04||Second Division||44||1||3||0||1||0||1[a]||0||49||1|
|Luton Town||2008–09||League Two||18||0||1||0||2||0||1[a]||0||22||0|
|Mansfield Town||2012–13||Conference Premier||4||0||0||0||—||0||0||4||0|
|Forest Green Rovers (loan)||2013–14||Conference Premier||8||0||—||—||—||8||0|
|Macclesfield Town (loan)||2013–14||Conference Premier||16||2||—||—||—||16||2|
|Macclesfield Town||2014–15||Conference Premier||44||1||0||0||—||1[e]||0||45||1|
- Port Vale Player of the Year: 2005–06
- Conference Premier player of the month: August 2009
- Luton Town Player of the Year: 2009–10
- Macclesfield Town Player of the Year: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. p. 334. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
- "Bowers looking for footie fanatic to take over his Dominoes legacy". The Sentinel. 31 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Vale land Pilkington". BBC Sport. 24 June 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Duo boost Port Vale". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Brentford 1–0 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 17 September 2004. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Port Vale 3–1 Chesterfield". BBC Sport. 29 April 2006. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Pilkington is handed Vale armband". BBC Sport. 26 May 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- "Awards". port-vale.co.uk. 5 May 2006. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Mitchener, Mark (11 December 2006). "Skipper wants Valiant effort". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Pilkington to sweat on contract". BBC Sport. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Pilkington wants to stay at Vale". BBC Sport. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Pilkington leaves Vale on a high". BBC Sport. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- "Luton Town bring in 11 new faces". BBC Sport. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- "Luton 3–2 Scunthorpe (aet)". BBC Sport. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
- "Awards a plenty for Pilks". Luton Town F.C. 25 April 2010. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Luton skipper George Pilkington signs new two-year deal". BBC Sport. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
- "Pilkington extends contract". Luton Town F.C. 18 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 May 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
- "Two Trophies for Tyler". lutontown.co.uk. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- "Luton Town booked their place in the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final against York as they hung on to beat Wrexham on aggregate". BBC Sport. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Maiden, Phil (20 May 2012). "York City secured their return to the Football League after an eight-year absence as they came from behind to beat Luton Town at Wembley". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- Stevenson, Mark (20 June 2012). "Cox makes double signing". Mansfield Town F.C. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "No sulking as Pilkington looks to keep his Mansfield Town shirt at Cambridge". 5 October 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- "Pilkington loaned to Forest Green". Non League Daily. 4 August 2013. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Forest Green 8–0 Hyde". BBC Sport. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Stags defender Pilkington not looking too far ahead after shock recall". Mansfield and Ashfield Chad. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Silkmen sign Pilkington". Macclesfield Town FC. 8 February 2014.
- "Woking 3 – 2 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- "Pilkington Stays with Silkmen". Macclesfield Town FC. 10 March 2014.
- "Six players offered new deals at One Call Stadium". mansfieldtown.net. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Turnbull and Pilkington back at Macc". stagsnet.net. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- Baldwin, Alex. "The Silkmen will travel to Torquay United for their final game of the season without George Pilkington". mtfc.co.uk. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Faulkner, Alan (16 May 2016). "George Pilkington signs new contract at Macclesfield Town". Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- "George Pilkington". www.mtfc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
- "FA Trophy final - Macclesfield Town v York City". BBC Sport. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
- Keay, Sheldan (21 April 2018). "Macclesfield Town promoted to the Football League after being crowned National League champions". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- "George Pilkington: Shrewsbury appoint ex-Macclesfield defender as first-team coach". BBC Sport. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- Cox, Lewis (12 November 2018). "John Askey sacked as Shrewsbury Town manager". Shropshire Star. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2002/2003". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2004/2005". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- Williams, Tony; Wright, James, eds. (2010). Non-League Club Directory 2011. Tony Williams Publications. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-1-869833-68-8.
- Williams, Mike; Williams, Tony, eds. (2011). Non-League Club Directory 2012. Tony Williams Publications. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-1-869833-70-1.
- Williams, Mike; Williams, Tony, eds. (2012). Non-League Club Directory 2013. Tony Williams Publications. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-1-869833-77-0.
- George Pilkington at Soccerway
- "Games played by George Pilkington in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Pilkington wins player of month prize". Luton & Dunstable Express. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.[permanent dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Pilkington.|
- George Pilkington at Soccerbase